USS Essex was designed by the North American shipbuilder Donald McKay. McKay is widely recognized as the premier shipwright and designer in 19th Century America. His fast clipper ships broke all speed records during the mid-19th Century. and his ship Flying Cloud held the speed record from the New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn from 1851-1989. USS Essex was the last ship McKay designed and constructed. Her keel was laid in 1874 and she was launched in 1876 as one of the last class of wooden-hulled American Naval vessels and one of the last out-fitted with auxiliary sails.
Commander Winfield Scott Schley (9 October 1839 - 2 October 1911) was in charge of USS Essex from her launching until mid-1879. Winfield Scott Schley is well-known for his actions during the Spanish-American War where he commanded the Flying Squadron on his flagship USS Brooklyn, an armored cruiser, at the Battle of Santiago Bay. Schley retired from the US Navy in 1901 with the rank of Rear Admiral.
This first log book of USS Essex contains much interesting information about the daily workings of the ship. Among the crew are Henry Simpson and John Millmore, two United States Medal of Honor recipients for their actions in October 1877 on board Essex, when they saved the life of a fellow crewman, John Powers.
Further, this log book mentions interactions with several United States Naval Warships including the USS Hartford (Rear Admiral Farragut’s flagship at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War), USS Tallapoosa, USS Montauk, USS Ranger, USS Plymouth, monitor USS Passaic, USS Powhatan, USS Huron, USS Swatara, and one of Essex’s sister ships, USS Alliance.
USS Essex worked around the world as a US Navy Sloop of War and then as a training vessel in the Atlantic and the Great Lakes. She ended her long service in Duluth, Minnesota and is now a National Register of Historic Places-recognized shipwreck - and the only known example of Donald McKay's craftsmanship known to survive anywhere in the world.
Copyright to Ann Merriman and Christopher Olson. This log book can be downloaded at no cost but cannot be sold anywhere or changed in any way.
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In Copyright. Copyright to this work is held by Maritime Heritage Minnesota, Ann Merriman, and Christopher Olson. It cannot be downloaded and sold for profit, changed in any way, or redistributed.